Farming diary - Family visit during harvest
The autumnal chill has remained over the last week, with a northerly wind dominating the weather.
Although the clouds have kept rolling in we have had little rain, so harvesting has been able to continue.
Richard and I have spent most of the week stewarding at a championship pony show held near Grantham, and although it was cold we did not get wet.
One evening we went for a walk on a bridleway running along the side of some fields of sandy soil planted with potatoes, carrots, and leeks. In the distance we could see irrigation guns watering other crops, maybe newly planted grass seed for turf, which we have seen on previous visits to the area.
Over the weekend, Ryan spent some time moving more manure from the farm to fields for spreading, while Richard ploughed two fields of barley stubble.
Matt,who is with us until the end of the month, has been doing some rotavating. As the week progressed, several trailer loads of our recently harvested winter wheat were taken to a nearby silo, for storage until sold. Unfortunately some of the loads were a little over the required moisture level, so we will incur a cost for drying.
While all this was going on, my sister Teresa and her husband Paul came from Sunderland to spend a few days with us. It was great to see them and show them what was going on at Manor Farm.
We walked around the farm to see the cattle, then on to a field where our combine harvester was working.
Teresa took Richard his sandwiches and was soon in the cab being given an explanation of the workings of the machine, as it made its way up and down the field of wheat.
Teresa was amazed at the amount of technology the driver had access to, watching the computer screen as it displayed in detail what was going on.
The next day we went to Stowell Farm, where Teresa and I joined Melissa and the twins for a pony ride. It was great fun with thee generations of our family cantering around some of the fields.
Later in the day we did some hedgerow harvesting, gathering sloes and blackberries to make into preserves for the winter.
Early in the week Ian found a water leak. We knew that one of the water meters was showing a rise in water consumption but had not found the site of the problem very easily, but now the pipe has been repaired.
Ian has also been spraying some of the stubble fields with a herbicide to kill any weeds and volunteer cereals (cereal grains shed onto the ground from the harvested crop) that had germinated since harvest. Matt has been spreading manure , as well as baling a field of straw, which he has bought from us for use on his own farm.
Just before we went to Grantham, Richard noticed that one of the monitors on the combine was not working properly.
An engineer was called, who discovered a mouse had partially chewed through a cable. It was a small section of wire, but took a while to repair as it was very difficult to access.
The new loader tractor has recently been given its first service, having worked the required amount of hours. While we were away, Kevin came over to finish harvesting the remainder of our winter wheat, before taking the combine back to Stowell Farm to harvest his own crops. Early in the week Kevin planted all his winter oilseed rape.
Recently some of our cows and heifers, due to give birth to their calves very soon, were brought back to the farm buildings.
Here we can keep a close eye on them, feeding them on a pre-calving ration of silage, straw, minerals, plus a concentrate blend to balance the diet.
Now we await the birth of our first calf.